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President Biden Issues Executive Order for AI Oversight

On Monday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order covering a wide range of topics related to artificial intelligence, paving the way for new government regulations and funding.

The 111-page order covers multiple facets of AI and areas of concern or development, including civil rights, cybersecurity, discrimination, global competition, and a push for establishing federal AI jobs.

A senior White House official, who wished to remain anonymous, reportedly told NBC News that the potential uses of AI are so vast that effective regulations must cover a lot of ground. He also underscored the need for “significant bipartisan legislation.”

“AI policy is like running into a decathlon, and there’s 10 different events here, and we don’t have the luxury of just picking ‘we’re just going to do safety’ or ‘we’re just going to do equity’ or ‘we’re just going to do privacy.’ You have to do all of these things.”

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The order expands on a July nonbinding agreement between seven of the most prominent U.S. technology companies developing AI. The agreement required the companies to hire outside experts to identify weaknesses in their systems. The government can legally require companies to disclose the results of those safety tests under the Defense Production Act.

The Department of Commerce will also be required to develop guidelines for properly “watermarking” AI content, such as “deepfake” videos and ChatGPT-generated essays.

In an interview with NBC News, the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence co-director Fei-Fei Li stressed the importance of government funding for AI to solve society’s pressing issues.

“The public sector holds a unique opportunity in terms of data and interdisciplinary talent to cure cancer, cure rare diseases, to map out biodiversity at a global scale, to understand and predict wildfires, to find climate solutions, to supercharge our teachers. There’s so much the public sector can do, but all of this is right now starved because we are severely lacking in resources.”

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Some of the other topics covered in the order are geared toward anticipating and mitigating real-world problems that may arise from the widespread implementation of AI.

For instance, it asks the Department of Labor to address the potential for AI to cause job losses; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development to address how AI may exacerbate discrimination in banking and housing sectors; and the Office of Management and Budget, and others, to determine how the government can use AI without jeopardizing privacy rights.

The AI Now Institute managing director, Sarah Myers West, praised President Biden for including ethical concerns in the executive order. The nonprofit focuses on the societal implications of artificial intelligence use.

“It’s great to see the White House set the tone on the issues that matter most to the public: labor, civil rights, protecting privacy, promoting competition. This underscores you can’t deal with the future risks of AI without adequately dealing with the present. The key to looking forward will be to ensure strong enforcement as companies attempt to set a self-regulatory tone: industry cannot be left to lead the conversation on how to adequately address the effects of AI on the broader public.”

The White House Podium

Executive Order From Biden Could Improve How US Colleges Handle Sexual Misconduct

President Joe Biden is potentially going to improve on a Trump Administration policy that weakened how American colleges and universities that receive federal funding handle cases of sexual misconduct and assault accusations on campus, according to administration officials. 

Biden is projected to sign an executive order this Monday that would direct the Department of Education to review certain changes to policies that were implemented by former president Donald Trump. These policies include Title IX which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded institutions. 

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While Biden was campaigning he had a major focus on gender equality, and a big piece of that was a commitment to do better at protecting the young women of America who are constantly threatened at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities. He promised to strengthen Title IX if he won and “sign a second executive order formally establishing the White House Gender Policy Council,” according to two administration officials.

Biden had the plans to create the council before he even took office as well. The order will direct the DOE to review Title IX, and potentially shift how colleges handle allegations of sexual misconduct/assault in the future. 

Back in 2018 Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, rescinded an Obama-era policy that made it standard for cases regarding sexual assault to require “preponderance of evidence,” and instead required “clear and convincing evidence” to make an allegation valid. Essentially, colleges and universities needed clear cut evidence that an assault occurred to actually do anything about it. These changes that were enforced by DeVos allowed colleges and universities to get away with ignoring the hundreds of allegations that appear on their campuses every year. 

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“The DeVos changes reduced the liability of colleges and universities for investigating sexual misconduct claims and bolstered the due process rights of the accused, including the right to cross-examine their accusers through a third-party advocate at campus hearings,” according to the Associative Press.

With the DOE now expected to review these policies, it’s expected that Biden is intending to make America’s colleges and universities a much safer place for students, and giving them the security of knowing that should something happen to them, they’ll have all the resources, information, and support they need to make sure they remain safe and the right parties are punished appropriately. 

The White House Gender Policy Council is a resurrection of the White House Council on Women and Girls, which was an Obama-era council that worked to combat issues specifically related to women’s rights. That council was disbanded under Trump, and Biden’s resurrection of it with a new name aims to “acknowledge that inequities can affect people of all genders, however, the council will primarily focus on issues facing women and girls due to the disproportionate barriers they face,” an official claimed. 

According to White House officials, “the new council is tasked with helping push gender equity on the administration’s domestic and foreign policy efforts. Some of the issues the council will focus on include combating sexual harassment, addressing structural barriers to women’s participation in the workforce, decreasing gender wage and wealth gaps, addressing caregiving issues that have disproportionately impacted women and responding to gender-based violence.”

The White House

President Biden Orders Pandemic Supply Chain Review For 4 Key Industries

Joe Biden will sign an executive order this week that will call for the review of global supply chains responsible for providing pandemic gear to the nation.

Paris Climate Agreement

Joe Biden Rejoins Paris Climate Agreement On First Day In Office

Hours after he was sworn in as 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden signed two executive orders relating to climate change. Environmental activists throughout the nation rejoiced that the next administration entering the White House is ready to take major steps in reversing the damage that has been done to the planet within the past four years especially. 

Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, a clean transportation advocate for GreenLatinos, a nonprofit organization focusing on environmental issues that are disproportionately impacting Latino communities, recently spoke with the media about the significance of the US rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, and the cancellation of the permits for the Keystone XL pipeline. 

“The Biden administration is sending a message, and it’s really exciting that these conversations are happening so early. My hope is that these actions are just the beginning of a sustained climate-oriented agenda.”

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On the White House website, climate change is second on a list of the Biden Administration’s priorities; obviously getting the Covid-19 pandemic, that has now killed over 400,000 Americans, under control is top priority. If we remember back to Trump’s first week in office back in 2017, his administration completely removed the climate change page from the White House website. 

“We face an attack on our democracy and on truth. A raging virus, growing inequity, the sting of systemic racism, a climate in crisis. Any one is enough to challenge us in ways. The fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested,” Biden said in his inaugural address.

Biden has indicated that he plans to restore a multitude of the environmental rules and regulations that former president Donald Trump and his administration rolled back on. Michael Mann is the author of “The New Climate War” as well as a professor and climatologist at Penn State University who recently spoke with the media about these crucial efforts already being made by the Biden administration. 

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“This administration has to hit the ground running, because we’re four years down the road not having made the progress that we ought to have made. That means we’re going to have to work even harder.”

“Rejoining the Paris Agreement will help restore the country’s credibility, but Biden will also have to set an example by pushing for even more aggressive emissions targets to avert the most damaging impacts of climate change. The current commitments under the Paris Agreement are not enough to keep us below 1.5 degrees Celsius of planetary warming. It will be incumbent on the United States to display leadership to keep warming below catastrophic levels. What I would like to see over the next 100 days is language that speaks to our commitment to substantially ratchet up our obligations under the Paris accord.”

Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline permit also shows a major shift away from needing fossil fuels. During his campaign Biden proposed a $2 trillion climate plan that included a goal of achieving a 100% clean electricity standard by 2035. 

Environmental activists will be watching closely as the administration continues to navigate the climate crisis that is impacting the world more and more every day. Many will be looking for policies that will benefit all communities in the US, especially communities that are predominately made up of people of color which have been disproportionately impacted by climate change due to a complete lack of funding and resources from the government. 

Tiktok Logos

TikTok Has Two Weeks To Reach A Deal With The US 

After TikTok seemed to have avoided the Trump administration’s fight to get the app shut down, the US government quietly told the social media platform that it has 15 days – until November 27th- to persuade US national security officials and agencies that its proposed deal with Oracle and Walmart should be approved. 

Under the executive order that President Donald Trump signed this summer, this past Thursday was the original deadline set in place for ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, to hand the app over to Walmart and Oracle. However, as the date approached, no one really understood what was going to happen with the app. The country is in the middle of the worst health crisis it’s seen in decades, not to mention one of the most turbulent times politically, so the transition of power for a simple social media app hasn’t exactly been top priority. 

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The order itself that came from Trump didn’t even mention any consequences should TikTok miss the original deadline, and its overall sense of ambiguity was a solid reflection on Trump’s actual feelings regarding the app; which was already being run from a base in America, despite the current president’s constant claims that China was using the app to steal data from its 100 million users. 

TikTok told a federal judge this past Friday, however, that the US government had granted the company’s request for an extension on the date. TikTok still needs to fight for its current proposed deal that would give ownership rights to Oracle and Walmart, however, there’s a lot more breathing room considering a majority of the government’s focus right now is on the transition of power between Trump and Biden and combating the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In theory, if Trump’s executive order went into full effect as he intended, any business dealings made between TikTok and the US would be made illegal. The US Commerce Department attempted to enforce Trump’s order by trying to ban TikTok app downloads from the app store in September. The agency also said at the time that by mid-November internet companies would be banned from carrying TikTok content. 

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Both of those measures were temporarily blocked by a federal judge after TikTok and TikTok creators sued the government in separate cases. Regardless of those cases, Trump had a second executive order that required ByteDance to divest TikTok by November 12th. The order didn’t give any specifics as to what the deal needed to look like, nor what TikTok would need to do to survive in the US, nor what would happen should the app refuse to comply. 

Regardless, TikTok did come up with a plan that gave Oracle and Walmart the power to make TikTok headquartered in the US with a majority of US investors taking ownership over the platform. Trump did tentatively approve this deal in September when it was initially announced, however, the arrangement has still yet to be finalized. 

For now, TikTok has another 15 days to finalize all the details of their deal with oracle and Walmart. In the meantime users will still be able to access the app and download it from the app store.

US Immigration Label

Joe Biden Faces Long Uphill Battle To Reform Immigration After Four Years Of Trump

Between the constant talks of building a multi-billion dollar border wall and families being separated from their kids who are then kept in cages, the last four years have been a major nightmare for immigrants all throughout the US.

Stop Police Brutality Sign

Donald Trump Signs Executive Order On ‘Police-Friendly Reform’

Trump is expected to present an executive order to the White House that would create a national database of police misconduct, this way officers with a history of overly aggressive behavior can’t be transferred to another department to avoid public scrutiny.

Immigration

Trump Plans To Suspend Immigration Into The U.S. Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

President Donald Trump announced this past Monday that he will be signing an Executive Order that would suspend all immigration into the United States in order to prevent further economic damage brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.